Edible insects are an increasingly popular food source worldwide. Although many people are concerned about eating insects due to various myths, most insects are safe for humans and can provide many important nutrients such as protein, vitamins and minerals. However, as with any other food source, it is important to be aware of the potential risks and side effects.
As is the case with most foods, you can, of course, be allergic to insects.
There are a total of 14 allergens, including shellfish and seafood, which are closely related to insects.
It is one of the biggest concerns about eating edible insects that is linked to allergic reactions. However, there are three myths and misinformation surrounding insect allergies that deserve clarification.
1) Everyone has an allergy to edible insects
The myth that everyone is allergic to insects is a false claim. However, some people who are more sensitive to crustaceans, shellfish and seafood may be sensitive to insects and should avoid eating them.
As is the case with other food allergies, reactions to insects can be mild to severe and depend on each person's individual sensitivity to the specific type of insect and the amount of protein consumed.
However, if you are not allergic to insects and enjoy eating them as part of a balanced diet, you need not worry about allergic reactions. Eating insects can be safe and even nutritious for many people because insects contain high amounts of protein, vitamins and minerals.
2) Eating insects is dangerous for people with mite allergies
This myth is also false. Although mites are close relatives of insects and can cause allergic reactions in some people, an allergy to mites does not necessarily mean that a person will have an allergic reaction to eating insects.
An allergy to mites usually refers to an allergy to a protein found in mite droppings, while insects have other proteins that should not be a problem. Of course, this doesn't mean that people with allergies should ignore potential allergic reactions to foods and should be cautious if they want to try new foods, including edible insects.
3) Eating insects is dangerous for people with allergies
While there are allergic reactions to some insects, most people with food or pollen allergies should be able to safely consume insects. If you are unsure whether you have an allergy to insects, you can try consuming small amounts first and observe your reaction. If you feel comfortable, you can gradually increase the amount.
Allergies to edible insects are similar in many ways to allergies to other foods, such as peanuts or other foods. An allergic reaction can be triggered by consuming a small amount of the allergen and may include a variety of symptoms such as itching, swelling, rashes, abdominal pain or nausea. In any case, it is always important to remember that if you are unsure whether you are allergic to insects, you should consult a doctor about eating insects.
However, people who are not sensitive to crustaceans, shellfish and seafood need not worry about eating insects and can include them in their regular diet.